1880: Daniel Searles, the first hanging in Tioga County

From the New York Evening Express, January 21, 1880.

DANIEL SEARLES HANGED.


THE NEGRO MURDERER OF OLD MR. REWEY

Sketch of a Brutal Crime — The Condemned Man Owns His Guilt and Admits the Justice of His Sentence.

OSWEGOOWEGO, N.Y., January 21. — The first instance of capital punishment in Tioga county occurred here to-day at noon. The extreme penalty of the law was inflicted upon Daniel Searles, an illiterate negro, who in June last murdered Eldridge Rewey, an aged farmer, who lived alone in the neighboring vilage of Newark Valley.

The murder was for the purpose of robbery, and was one of fiendish atrocity. Calling at the farmer’s house in the early evening of June 25, Searles felled him senseless to the floor, and then cut his throat with a razor.

He obtained about $300 by searching the house, and, on preparing to leave, noticed that his victim had revived. Rewey had also drawn a knife from his pocket, as if to defend himself, which the negro wrested from him, and with which he nearly decapitated his helpless victim.

He was arrested next day, tried before Judge Follett at OswegoOwego, and on December 8 was sentenced to be hung to-day.

Searles has made no attempt to deny his guilt, openly confessing the crime and saying he deserved to die for it. He has preserved a brave exterior throughout, and passed his last night on earth seemingly with less anxiety than did his executioner.

The execution took place in a temporary frame structure in the jail-yard, erected for the purpose. A cordon of military attended. The gallows was the same on which Penwell was executed at Elmira in July, 1877, for wife murder. The ponderous drop weighed three hundred pounds.

The spectators were in attendance at 11:45, some two hundred being present. Prayers were said in the prisoner’s cell at noon and the death warrant read to him.

Part of the Daily Triple: 1880 and Death.

2 thoughts on “1880: Daniel Searles, the first hanging in Tioga County”

  1. I do believe the venues of the trial and the execution here where you mention them should be “Owego,” not “Oswego.” As indicated right in the Wikipedia article for Tioga County that you link to, Owego is the seat of this Upstate New York county that I happen to live near. Oswego is in fact another small city in Central N.Y., home to a campus of the State University of New York which I actually taught at once.

    Understandably, sometimes these two towns get confused, but in scrutinizing your _New York Evening Express_ source article it appears that even they got the name right, a rare mastery of Upstate details in a NYC publication which I’m gratified to see.

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